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Toulouse

Country
France
State
France (General)
City
Toulouse
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

Toulouse, France's fourth largest city, the cultural and economic center of southern France, the see of an archbishop, a university town since 1230 and chief town of Languedoc and the département of Haute-Garonne, lies on the right bank of the Garonne and on the Canal du Midi  which since 1681 has provided a link between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic by way of the Garonne. Known as the "red city" because of its numerous brick buildings, it is rich in art and architecture, and is also the center of the French aircraft and space industry.

Around 200 BC the Volcae Tectosages, a Celtic people driven from their homeland in southeastern Germany, established a settlement here. This was succeeded by the Roman fortified town of Tolosa, on the road from Narbonne to Bordeaux. The town was Christianized by St Saturninus in the third century. After the end of the Roman period Toulouse was from 419 to 506 capital of the Visigothic kingdom, and later became the principal place in Aquitaine. From 845 to 1249 it was ruled by the Counts of Toulouse. Under the treaty of Paris in 1229 Toulouse passed to the French crown along with the rest of Languedoc. The University was founded by Pope Gregory IX in 1230, after the Albigensian wars. The Académie des Jeux Floraux was founded by Louis XIV.



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How to Reach

By Air

Toulouse Blagnac International Airport is located just 11kms from the city centre and handles dozens of incoming flights each day from French cities and other European destinations. The Navette Aeroport shuttle bus (tel: +33 5 3460 6400) runs between the airport and Gare Routiere bus station in the city centre every 20 minutes. The trip into town takes about 20 minutes and is reasonably priced. The last shuttle trip into town leaves the airport at 23:30. Taxis are also readily available outside the Arrivals Hall to whisk you to your destination.  

By Bus

Toulouse is a major stopping point for the bus companies that operate across France. Dozens of buses arrive each day from main French cities and a handful of Spanish towns. The city’s modern bus station (tel: +33 5 6161 6767) is located on boulevard Pierre Semard, just to the north of Gare Matabiau railway station, along the Canal du Midi. This area is the main transport hub for every method of travel, so however you arrive in Toulouse, you will probably end up here.

By Rail

One of the easiest and most convenient ways to get to Toulouse is by train (tel: +33 08 9235 3535). The French high-speed TGV trains run regularly into the city from several points around the country every day. There are nine daily trains from Paris (5 hours), eight from Bordeaux (1 hour, 50 minutes) and 11 from Marseille (3 hours, 30 minutes). From these three major cities, you can reach virtually any other town in France.

All trains arrive at the city’s Gare Matabiau station, which is located  just northeast of the city centre. From the train station, you can reach the city centre in about 5 minutes by using the metro or in 20 minutes on foot.    

By Car

Getting to Toulouse by car is easy, since the city is situated right on France’s major motorway system. If you are arriving from Paris or any other northern destination, you will want to take the A10 south towards Bordeaux and then connect with the A62, which runs straight to Toulouse. The drive from Paris takes between 6 and 7 hours.

Visitors coming from Spain or farther south in France can use the A61 and those arriving from the east will come in via the A68 motorway. There is a ring road which circles Toulouse, so whatever direction you arrive from, you will have to get on the ring road to access the side of the city you want to visit.

Key places to visit
Musee des Augustins, Fondation Bemberg, Basilique St Sernin, Les Abattoirs, City of Space, The Capitole


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Places to Visit

Musee des Augustins

This 14th century monastery, which displays the city’s largest collection of medieval sculptures and paintings, is one of the most important buildings in Toulouse. The museum itself was established in 1793, shortly after the French Revolution. Its collection includes Dutch, Italian and Flemish masterpieces from artists such as Rubens and Manet.

The museum’s 14th century cloisters are home to the most valuable collection of Romanesque sculptures in the world. Besides the amazing artwork, simply strolling through this monastery gives one the awe-inspiring sensation of being back in medieval times.

Fondation Bemberg

Fondation Bemberg is located in a mansion completed in 1555. The restored mansion contains the personal collection belonging to Georges Bemberg.
Highlights of the collection include paintings, bronze sculptures and other objects that date back to the 17th century and Renaissance.

Basilique St Sernin

Toulouse’s principal monument is the largest and most impressive Romanesque church in Europe. First consecrated in 1096, this church has some stunning 11th and 12th century sculptures, bas-reliefs and tombs. Be sure to visit the crypt, which contains the relics of 128 saints as well as a thorn purposed to be from Christ’s Crown of Thorns. It’s best to avoid the church during Sunday morning Mass, when it becomes flooded with worshippers.

Les Abattoirs

Les Abattoirs is a modern and contemporary art museum with a collection of over 2,300 works. The main focus is paintings, photographs and graphic works with a small collection of sculptures. Over 700 artists are highlighted in the permanent exhibitions of Les Abattoirs.

City of Space

If you have any interest in outer space and its exploration, then you must visit this fantastic museum on the outskirts of the city. The interactive exhibits explore the technological advances made in space travel, while also acting as a learning tool. You can program a satellite’s launch, walk through the Mir orbital station and marvel at the photographs of our solar system taken by satellites. The museum’s highlight is the planetarium, which is world-class.

The Capitole

This massive plaza in the heart of the city is one of the strongest symbols of Toulouse. Built in 1753 using Baroque-style architecture, the stunning buildings here include the Hotel de Ville (City Hall) and the Theatre National du Capitole, which still presents the city’s concerts, ballets and operas. The complex is open Monday through Saturday from 09:00 until 18:00 and is a wonderful place to stroll around and admire the views.

Right Time to Visit

Information not available

Temperature

July - August -> 27(°C) - Summer
January - February -> 1(°C) - Winter


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